Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Two More Days

Lest you think, dear readers, that my fear and loathing of April is unfounded...

...besides the loss of Ozzy, and the four year anniversary of losing Alan, I also had to find Max a new home last week for reasons that are too complicated and painful for me to explain here.  Happily, he's been blessed with a great new family--who loved him on sight--especially the 12-year old boy. They bonded like only a boy and his dog can, which was heartwarming, but also heartbreaking (for me).

...I had to go back to the eye surgeon.  The inside corner of my right eyelid looks like I have a permanent sty.  It's an odd bump of skin that isn't going away like it should.  My left eye is perfect, the right looks like shit.  The doctor is making me wait for a few months before she fixes it because she's convinced it will go away over time.  Let me just say for the record:  I don't believe for a minute that it will go away and this is just postponing the inevitable.

...the dishwasher broke on Sunday.  Course, I can wash by hand, and did for all the years I lived in Edinburgh, but if I want to ever sell the house, I need functioning appliances.  I spent some time on the internet, pricing and whatnot, but holy crap, I don't want to fork out over $500 (and that's on sale), plus what it will cost to have it installed.  And there goes any hope of a holiday this year.

...Monday the tea kettle caught fire.  I got so used to an electric kettle whilst living abroad, that when we moved to the States, both Alan and I agreed that the first small appliance we purchased had to be the kettle. There isn't a great selection here--southern Oregon after all--but I eventually found a replacement yesterday.  Now I just have to scrub the scorch marks out of the grout on the kitchen counter.

...my gardener/helper guy fell off the wagon, just when I need him the most.  He hasn't shown up for two weeks now, the grass is knee-high across the road (which I have to maintain for fire regulations), as is the slope below the deer fence in the back garden. I either have to find someone else really quick, or go buy a 200-ft extension cord and an industrial weed whacker to do the job myself.

...took the Blazer in for his semi-annual fluids and oil change.  I expected an easy in-and-out, not much money spent to get serviced for the Summer.  You know where I'm going with this, right?  Uh huh. $250 later.  Does money grow on frigging trees?  If so, where can I find one?  I'll even settle for seeds...

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On Friday I'm doing a complete cleanse of the house, the gardens, the Blazer.  I'm overwhelmed by dark vibes, too many tears and the echoes from the empty spaces in my heart and spirit. It's time to move into the light...metaphorically.  I have several smudge sticks that I bought in New Mexico awhile back and once I decide which bundle will be the most effective, I'm going to get up early on
Friday morning, move through my personal landscapes with chants to the four directions...and begin the new month with a cleaner environment and--hopefully--a calmer spirit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Suspiria de Profundis

Thought I was doing okay after climbing out of the Abyss several days ago, but I wasn't paying attention...and fell right into the Slough of Despond.

April.  How this month has tortured me over the years.  Pain and sorrow, death and destruction.  I mentioned to my sister I was going to shut myself up in a cryonic cylinder next year and spend the whole blasted thirty days in frozen, ignorant bliss. After some discussion, we decided--it being April and all--the odds were that the freezing process would probably fail and I would melt away like an ice cube.

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I could sense it coming for a while now, a knowing growing stronger as the weeks and months have sped by.  Lately, there's been an edge to my awareness, a shiver of unease that it's close, just over the horizon and any minute I'll be able to see it...


Over the weekend I realized that it's finally here, waiting over.  I am standing at the crossroads, without a single clue, idea or map to show me the way forward.

It's not the first time I've been here.  No, I've been here at least three times before in my life.  Once I made the biggest mistake ever, another time I made the best decision, and at one crossroad it made no difference which way I went.

But this time, my choice is important, perhaps even crucial.  I'm not twenty with decades to make mistakes and changes; not thirty with a bit of wisdom but not quite enough yet; not forty with old dreams lost and new ones found.  I stand at my present crossroads and hear the echoes of the past, the murmur of future journeys, but instead of feeling excited or joyful...I'm afraid.  What do I want? Where is my place in the world?  Which is the right path?

I have a long list of chores and house-related tasks that I need to take care of over the next few months. They should get me into September and with a wee bit of luck, lots of thinking and meditating, toss in an adventure or two...and I just might be able to figure this out.

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Suspiria de profundis: Sighs from the depths.  And doesn't that pretty much say it all...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

View From A Wednesday

The weather has been typical April: schizo.  Sunday it was mid-80s and I sweltered in my tank top and hippy skirt; yesterday I woke up to snow in the mountains and wild storms all day.  I preferred the latter and am already dreading the onset of what is shaping up to be another long, hot Summer.

I've been on an epic purge around the house these past few weeks, going through all the cupboards, drawers, closets and bookshelves.  It will take me awhile to sort and sift, box and haul away, but I'm a graduate of the school that says if you don't need it/use it/haven't worn it in years, it's time to let go. It's a liberating process, though painful at times too.  I keep running across memories, then I have to stop, make tea or pour whiskey (depending on the memory) and escape into my books. It's good to pare down, get back to the basics, fine tune my world...then I'll be able to see where I stand at the end of it.

In light of epic Spring cleaning, working, reading and/or drinking whatever suits my mood, I don't have much to write about that even resembles interesting, so instead, I picked up my camera...

On the other side of those mountains is the Pacific Ocean, and what storms they must have had at the coast yesterday.  Black clouds rolled over the peaks in waves, followed by bursts of heat and sunshine, then more rain and winds, drenching the farms and vineyards in the valley below my house.

  
In the gloaming, heat and rain had mixed up a steamy mist that sparkled in the setting sun and although I couldn't get a good shot to show the refractions, my telephoto captured the trees that seemed to waver and warp in the eerie, sepia-colored light...


This afternoon I took a break from The Purge and went outside to see what needs to be done with plants and baskets and general garden maintenance.  One thing was made perfectly clear to me.  It's time to get more coconut liners for my hanging baskets...

Two weeks ago, this was a viable, functioning basket.  The birds are building their nests now, and I'm apparently the building supply store...


A plant I bought a few years ago at an Alpine Wildflower show.  It's been struggling on the back slope since I planted it; I figured the scorching Summer sun was too much and planned to move it. Good thing I held off. This year it's beautiful and covered in blossoms, drawing bees in abundance.


The deer have eaten most of my dogwood flowers, though they can't reach the top of the tree so at least I have these beauties to admire from my living room windows.  The tree looks really goofy, like a bad Mohawk.  Ah well, even though there aren't many left, the cheerful pink blooms are lovely to see...


Okay, peeps, it's time for the hike to the mailbox.  The sun is out, wind is brisk...perfect for head clearing, then I'm going to have a nice, cold glass of wine while I try to make sense of the mess I'm making all over the house.  Or maybe I'll just drink the wine and forget the whole making sense part...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Kindness

I want to thank everyone who commented, phoned, emailed or knocked on my door, for your kind and compassionate words about Ozzy.  Sometimes grief can be so isolating, making misery and pain the only companions in the quiet, echoing silence.  It's helped me immeasurably to hear from all of you, dear readers, friends and family.

Ozzy was the last link to my life in Scotland.  Over this past week I've been mired in memories of Edinburgh, Alan, Ozzy and all the adventures shared between the three of us.  I mourn the loss of the two guys who meant the most to me, and also the country that became my home. A triple whammy, really, that left such a deep, gaping hole, I could swear I heard the wind whistling around the broken corners of my heart when I tried to sleep at night.

But then, in one of those inexplicable and mysterious moments, I had a dream.  Alan was walking across emerald green grass, Ozzy running and bouncing at his side, happy in the bright sunshine. Neither turned to look back at me and I wanted to call out, but then I realized it was okay, I'd been given a gift, to know they were together.

My dream was probably no more than wishful thinking, a trick of the mind to give me a sense of peace...although I choose to think otherwise.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter Egg Cookies

Now, here's a curious thing.  Why is it the Easter Bunny, but we decorate and fill baskets with eggs? Shouldn't it be the Easter Chicken?

I sent my mother an Easter basket the other day.  It was really a box filled with treats and surprises nestled in a bed of colorful Easter grass.  It was fun to put together and she said it was really fun to open and dig around in the "basket" to find all her goodies.

A few weeks ago, whilst looking for things to put in her box, I found a cookie mix from Charm City Cakes, Duff Goldman's bakery.  He had a show on TLC called Ace of Cakes, and has done several things for the Food Network channel.  I always like to watch him, he's funny and clever and very, very talented, so I not only bought Mom the mix, but got one for myself too.

I've never made cookies from a box, but because it's Duff, I decided to give it a try.


After mixing the dough, it was divided into four balls, and food coloring added in precise drops to make the beautiful layers...

Kneading the colors into each ball was easy, though I have bits of purple between my fingers that I can't get off.  It was such a gorgeous color, I was almost tempted to leave it all swirly and irregular. After the colors were blended, I had to roll them into four long ropes, cut egg-shaped wedges and bake...


And how cool is this?  Easter Egg Cookies....


They were a little bit fiddly, but nothing too complicated or mind-numbing.  And the best part? They're crisp, delicious sugar cookies that will be just right to share with my neighbor...though tasty enough to eat all by myself.

Which would make me the Easter Piglet and I think we have enough poultry/animal confusion going on already...